Getting our flow back to drive efficiency!

By Ann Marie Gloutney

So in my blog ‘Where did flow go’ I discussed the fact that variety, while it might be the spice of life, is the poison pill when it comes to creating a standard workflow.

 So when our clients ask us to create workflows to drive efficiency AND we are faced with a lot of variety (variance in Lean terms) we have to take a look at what CAN be standardized, what SHOULD be standardized and what do we simply have to accept AS IS. How is this done?

 Let’s start by breaking down the three core things that make up a workflow: tools, steps and people.

 Tools can be standardized – documents, codes, rules (or protocols). For example:


 Establishing these core standards will create the solid foundation on which to build workflows that will allow you to (1) BE AGILE – respond to your client’s ever changing needs (2) BE AWARE take advantage and even generate upsell and cross-sell opportunities and (3) BE ALERTrespond to challenges from competition.

 Steps cannot be standardized – if we become too rigid in our steps, we lose our agility. Now, there are some steps that just naturally go in order. For example, 1 comes before 2. And some steps HAVE TO BE DONE – thanks, compliance officer. But not all steps bring value to everyone every time…especially your customer!

 People cannot be standardized – no one is a robot! All the ‘people’ involved in our workflows (prospects, clients, employees in a broker’s office, underwriters, etc.) bring with them unique features, abilities and energy. We need to be aware of these differences and respond accordingly. And awareness leads to….sales and service opportunities!

Next blog: Getting our flow back by reducing or eliminating waste!


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